Book Review: The Witches of Vegas
Last month I started doing extended book reviews––starting with Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. For my second extended book review, I offer my opinion on Mark Rosendorf's The Witches of Vegas. Here is a link to my review on GoodReads. Incidentally, I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review.
When I picked up this novel, I wasn't sure what to expect. Generally, I don't read urban fantasy, adult or YA. But I ravenously read fantasy and YA, so I decided to give The Witches of Vegas a spin. I'm glad I did.
This fast-paced novel is a bewitching. In fact, the pacing is fantastic, making for a quick read that is hard to put down. For the most part, the narrative is divided between two high school-aged teens, Isis and Zack. In my opinion, these characters serve as co-protagonists. Both struggle to fit in for different reasons in their respective lives. Isis is a young witch kept in relative social isolation for her safety and the safety of others. The magic system in this world stems from emotion, and a young witch unable to control their feelings might magically lash out by accident. Zack is an apprentice magician being raised by his Uncle Herb and struggles in school. Both characters are believable as teenagers. Personally, I found Zack the more engaging character. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the Isis character too.
One thing the author does really well is portraying Las Vegas. He nails the Vegas strip right on the head. That's a good thing too because the novel's whole setup is based around a Wiccan coven (real witches with real magic) masquerading as performers in an ordinary magic show. The scenes of the witches performing capture the ambiance of a Vegas show to near perfection.
In the early scenes told from Zack's perspective as he performs as a magician alongside Uncle Herb, the reader is given insight into how ordinary magicians pull off their illusions. I found these scenes pretty interesting. Enough detail is given to explain how the illusions are performed without significantly slowing down the pacing. YA readers with interest in how magicians execute their tricks will likely find these scenes fascinating.
In addition to all the magic, a couple of vampires are thrown in for good measure. I especially enjoyed Luther, who acts as a mentor to the witches. A handful of scenes are told from Luther's perspective. I found all these scenes enjoyable. The author does an excellent job depicting how a 500-year-old bloodsucker views the world.
The Witches of Vegas is an enjoyable and quick read with a unique premise. YA readers who enjoy urban fantasy or are interested in how magicians perform their tricks will devour this book. The highest compliment I can give the novel is that I plan to read the next book in the series.